Julie Kline to Direct Artists Without Walls’ "New York City: A Shining Mosaic"

By Charles R. Hale

Artists Without Walls is pleased to announce that Julie Kline will be directing our presentation, “New York City: A Shining, Mosaic,” as part of Origin Theatre’s 1stIrish Fest on September 27, 7:30pm at Pier A, Harbor House, NYC.


Julie Kline
Julie Kline

Julie is a Brooklyn-based actor, director, writer, and producer of new works for the theater. As a director, Julie developed and directed Erin Layton’s MAGDALEN (Lyth Arts Centre, Scotland; Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015), Melissa Ritz’s BOMBSHELL OF RHYTHM (Soho Playhouse), Elizabeth Hess’ SPOILED (Stage Left), Kristen Palmer’s THE STRAY DOG (Rising Phoenix Rep) and Jamie Cowperthwait’s HUNTINGTON (Judson Memorial Church).  


Julie also conceived and directed SENIORS AND THE CITY in collaboration with oral historian Liza Zapol – a series of original theater works performed by Manhattan seniors based on their life-stories, supported by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She also devised the latest incarnation of this special brand of senior center – ACTING OUT! – in residency at Stanley Isaacs Senior Center with Roots&Branches Theater in association with the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of the Aging, and the Distracted Globe Foundation.


2016ArtistsWW600As an actor, Julie has appeared in new works with Rising Phoenix Rep, 3Legged Dog, Ensemble Studio Theater, the DC and NYC Fringe Festivals, Ensemble Studio Theater, HERE Arts Center, the Japan Society, and Steppenwolf Theater. Julie is a former literary manager at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, an Artistic Associate of Rising Phoenix Repertory, and an Artistic Associate for Roots&Branches Theater, where she leads inter-generational theater performances and workshops across New York City. Julie received a BFA in Acting from The Theater School, DePaul University in Chicago. 


ORIGINS_1st-Irish_2016-768x906“New York City: The Shining Mosaic” will be presented at Pier A, Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, New York City, September 27, 7:30pm. For further information click here: For tickets, which are $15 with a small origination fee click here. If tickets are available the night of the show they will be $20 at the door. 



Artists Without Walls in Origin Theatre’s 1st Irish Fest at Pier A in NYC

2016ArtistsWW600Artists Without Walls, as part of Origin Theatre’s 1stIrish Fest, is proud to present “New York City: A Shining Mosaic,” a show that will celebrate America’s immigrants at the point of their arrival…in full view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Pier A Harbor House, which looks out on the New York Harbor, will be the site of an evening of music, theatre and dance, and the memory of our ancestors who built the bridges and tunnels, paved and swept the sidewalks and streets….and stayed. Tuesday, September 27, 7.30pm


NYC Shining Mosaic Montage

Written by Charles R. Hale and directed by Julie Kline and musical director Niamh Hyland, the show’s performers include vocalist/Niamh, guitarist/vocalist Walter Parks, cellist/vocalist Eleanor Dubinsky, flutist Elsa Nilsson, pianist/vocalist Mala Waldron, dancer Laura Neese, guitarist Yuri Juarez and actors John Duddy and Jack O’Connell.


ORIGINS_1st-Irish_2016-768x906Tickets are $20 at the door but they are $15, plus a convenience fee, if you buy them in advance. Click here for more info and tickets or here to go directly to ticket purchases


866 811 4111

Pier A, Harbor House
22 Battery Place,
New York, NY, 10004
All trains to Bowling Green


Eric Wolfe’s photos from “Erin Layton’s MAGDALEN Benefit” at The Cell Theatre, Sunday, May 31, 2015.


Erin performing a scene from MAGDALEN
Erin performing a scene from MAGDALEN


Erin pictured here with the playwriting, producing collective, The Geese.
Erin pictured here with the playwriting, producing collective, The Geese.


Charles R. Hale delivers a moving and powerful testimony
Charles R. Hale delivers a moving and powerful testimony


David Fahy and Bernadette Fee warming up the audience.
David Fahy and Bernadette Fee warming up the audience.


Honor Molloy
Honor Molloy waits in the wings


Volunteers Misti Wills and Julie Layton man the raffle table.
Volunteers Misti Wills and Julie Layton man the raffle table.


Honor Finnegan and Carl Money performing Joanie Mitchell's "Magdalen Laundry"
Honor Finnegan and Carl Money performing Joni Mitchell’s “Magdalen Laundry”


Actor Jack O'Connell with Erin Layton and director Julie Kline
Actor Jack O’Connell with Erin Layton and director Julie Kline


Solo actress/playwright, Rhonda Musak and actor, Anthony Rapp.
Solo actress/playwright, Rhonda Musak and actor, Anthony Rapp.


Who is Melissa Ritz?



I’m an Army brat. My father was in the military and although I was born in Fort Sill, OK, I’ve lived all over the United States and Europe.


I’ve always had an interest in the arts. When I was attending an American high school in Germany I learned of a local English-speaking theater called The Frankfurt Playhouse. I immediately signed up to audition for their first show of the season, Funny Girl, and I got cast in the chorus. My relationship with the community of artists was magical. It opened my eyes to theater, music, acting and rehearsing. Working with military spouses, German locals, and defense contractors I also performed in Oklahoma! and Hello, Dolly!


My family moved from Germany to Alabama during my senior year of high school, but after graduating from high school I longed to return to Europe. The easiest way was to join the military. This stunned my parents; I was the ‘artsy’ type and never had expressed any desire to go into the Air Force. I mean, I had purple hair!


IMG_0574I learned about a military entertainment program called Tops in Blue while working as a medical laboratory technician in the Air Force. The program is comprised of musicians, technicians, vocalists, and dancers who perform a 90-minute show at military installations around the world. I auditioned and was accepted for the program. My confidence burgeoned; I began to see the “big picture” and years later drew from my experiences to create a one-woman show, “Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story.” 


Just after 9-11, I was working in a hospital in Germany. I was on a 24-hour standby deployment for a MASH unit in Baghdad City, and although I never deployed to Baghdad, many who suffered casualties from the Iraqi invasion were brought to the hospital. I reevaluated my life after seeing so many soldiers die at such a young age. Was I following my passion? Where was my heart guiding me? All answers led back to the theater.


Military_Mel_2001I wanted to go somewhere new, somewhere that wasn’t as stressful and completely different from the military. I moved to Las Vegas, where I worked as a cocktail waitress in a major “Strip” casino. How’s that for different!


I used my GI Bill to get my BA in Dance, and MFA in Theater Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. My training and experiences were empowering; I was ready for a move to New York City, which I did in October 2013.



What are you working on at the moment? 


Cocktail South PointMy one-woman show, Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story. Ina Ray Hutton was a ‘female bandleader’ of an all-girl band, The Melodears, in the 1930’s. What started out as a novelty act became one of the most sought out and lucrative musical acts of the Big Band era. Ina was the first woman to conduct male bands; she pioneered women in jazz and often arranged women performers’ initial gigs.


Born on the South Side of Chicago, Ina had to deal with racial issues, which created a number of challenges in music and in the theatre during the early part of the 20th century. Ina’s life off stage was equally challenging: She was married six times but never had children.  She was, however, in many respects, business savvy, including negotiating her own contracts and creating her own image. 


IMG_2039After I arrived in NYC I volunteered at the United Solo Theater Festival. I saw a gorgeous show called Magdalen, by Artists Without Walls’ member Erin Layton and Erin put me in touch with her director Julie Kline. After meeting Julie, I asked her to direct my show.


During the show I highlight Ina’s career accomplishments through songs, tap dancing, and video projection. We debuted “Ina” at United Solo this past October and sold out all four performances. I’m very proud that I was honored as “Best Emerging Actress.” I hope to take the show to Las Vegas this summer. More info can be found at Journey of a Bombshell.



Do you have upcoming events you’d like people to attend? 


I’ll be performing a scene from “Ina” at Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell Theatre on Tuesday, January 27th. I will also be performing the full length show on Sunday, February 15th, 9pm, at the Triad Theater/Stage 72. It’s located just above Seven’s Turkish Grill on 72nd and Broadway. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets



5006_A Journey Of A BombshellWho are the actors/writers / playwrights, past and present, you admire?


Playwrights: Tennessee Williams, Lynn Nottage, Shakespeare, John Patrick Shanley


Actors: Tilda Swinton, Cherry Jones, Anna Deavere Smith, Joaquin Phoenix, John Lithgow



Who is your greatest inspiration and why?


WWII Veterans, WAC/WAAC’s, and war Vets. During my time in the military, I met many amazing people who changed the course of history including The Tuskegee Airmen, Medal of Honor recipients and the first women admitted to military. Their sacrifices and accomplishments inspire me to make the most of opportunities that become available.



Name five things you’d like to do or accomplish in the next five years.


1. Visit Borobudur

2. Write a screenplay version of my show & have it optioned

3. Financially support myself as an actor

4. Speak a foreign language fluently.

5. Open my hips enough so I can finally do lotus pose in yoga!



If you could dream of trying something in the arts you haven’t tried, but would like to, what would it be?


I’d love to play a musical instrument. Any instrument! Having the ability to play an instrument really well seems like a super power.



What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?


Bikram yoga. I teach at Bikram Yoga NYC and Bikram Yoga East Harlem. Try it out!




Melissa’s Facebook page   


Melissa’s “Journey of a Bombshell” Facebook page. Click here to like her page. 


Journey of a Bombshell website